Most Popular Dog Breeds In The UK – part two

Most Popular Dog Breeds In The UK – part two

In part one, we looked at some of the most popular dogs in the UK like the Labrador Retriever, the Cockapoo, the French Bulldog, the Cocker Spaniel and the Dachshund. Now let’s take a look at some more of our nation’s favourite breeds.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier has had an unfortunate association with being a fighting dog for much of its long history which is regrettable as they actually have a wonderfully friendly nature and make amazing family pets.  Although smaller in stature, they’re a powerhouse of a dog and they need a strong and firm owner to take control of their training from an early age.

The Staffie is a companion dog, they want to be around their family and will often see it as their job to protect their pack. Due to their strength, they need to have clear boundaries set in playtime and will need lots of entertainment and exercise but their high intelligence makes them eager learners. Their desire to play coupled with their endless energy means they’ll see a fenced in garden as a challenge so make sure your garden is secure and you’re not going to get upset if your Staffie starts to dig a few holes in your lawn.

Their stocky build can make them more predisposed to health conditions like hip and elbow dysplasia and patellar luxation. You can mitigate these risks in younger Staffordshire Bull Terriers by supervising their exercise, not letting them over walk themselves whilst they’re still growing and consulting your vet if you’re ever worried about a limp or walking injury.

Jack Russell Terrier

Don’t be fooled by the small stature of the Jack Russell, they have the energy and personality to rival any dog five times their size! Originally bred to aid traditional English fox hunts, their small body and terrier tendencies were great for hunting down prey. These days, the Jack Russell can be found hunting nothing more sinister than the affection and attention of their owners.

Any new dog owner shouldn’t assume that because they’re a small dog, they’re an easy breed to begin with though. The Jack Russell can be described as anything from intelligent and strong minded to flat out stubborn, so they need a thorough training regiment from a young age. If you don’t have the time and energy to help your Jack Russell develop, they’ll entertain themselves and can become incredibly destructive (and loud) when bored. Even the best training can’t always override their strong prey drive though which is why they’re not a breed that can easily be let off lead. One sniff of something interesting and you’ll see just how quickly those little legs can cover a long distance.

Once you’ve put the time and effort into their training, you can be rewarded with the perfect family dog who comes complete with a cracking sense of humour. Once they’ve had some exercise, they’ll be more than happy to curl up on the sofa and enjoy a good cuddle. Their playful nature can make them great companions for children (once well socialised) but they never acknowledge their smaller size and don’t often back down from a challenge.

Border Collie

The farmers best friend, the Collie is best known for its herding ability and will often be seen on sheep farms around the country working alongside their shepherd owners. Their high intelligence makes them very open to training and their gentle nature makes them want nothing more than to please their owners. Whilst these are attributes that make them prize working dogs, they also mean they’re an ideal family dog too.

The Border Collie is not a dog easily satisfied with a simple walk followed by the rest of the day on the sofa. This dog works so well herding sheep because they’re very hard to tire out. Like many sheep dogs, they can be physically active all day and still want more, they only really tire out when they’re exercised mentally.

This high energy level can have downsides though, this breed needs a ‘job’ to do and if they’re not given one, they’ll assign one themselves. When bored they can become very destructive and even overprotective of their pack if not well trained. It’s very hard to train their herding instinct out of them so anything making lots of noise and moving about can find itself being gently nipped to be herded whether that’s children running about or other animals they meet out on a walk. When they are well trained and socialised, the Border Collie demonstrates perfectly why dogs are known as mans best friend. They’ll be attentive, eager to please and highly affectionate.

Chihuahua

Another little dog with a big personality, the Chihuahua is especially popular with those living in smaller houses or flats. They’re companion dogs which means they don’t like being alone, they’re happiest when they’ve got the undivided attention of their owner which is why you might even spot one poking out of their owner’s handbag!

The Chihuahua may be small but their capacity for learning isn’t, they train relatively easily and often shine in activities like agility and obedience. They respond especially well to positive reinforcement, but their curious nature and big personality means they don’t always appreciate when they might be in danger. They can escape through the smallest of gaps and when out on a walk, they’ll think nothing of trying to challenge a dog several times their size so make sure you’ve always got an eye on them.

Their curious nature, high energy levels and stubborn streaks can also cause problems when they’re young. Like any puppy, they shouldn’t be over exercised when they’re still growing as this could contribute to health problems later in life. Even as adults, they can be quite happy and healthy with just 30 minutes exercise a day but like many intelligent breeds, they can get destructive when bored, especially when they’re young.

German Shepherd

Also known as the Alsatian, the German Shepherd is one of the most easily identified dogs in the world. Although the names are often interchangeable, they’re officially known as the German Shepherd dog by the Kennel Club.  They were only called Alsatians after the First World War and any German association fell out of favour.

Intelligent, brave and hardworking, the German Shepherd has long been as popular as a family pet as a working dog helping cement the moniker mans best friend. This breed is routinely seen working along side armed forces, as sniffer dogs or police dogs but that doesn’t mean you’ve got to be Action Man to own one of these beautiful dogs.

They’ve long appeared in lists of most popular dogs because they make such great pets. You won’t be surprised to hear they’re very quick to learn and thrive on pleasing their owners. However, if you’re looking for a fluffy sofa accessory, you’re going to be disappointed. As loyal as these dogs are, they need a lot of exercise, training and attention. This doesn’t have to mean hours of long walks, German Shepherds routinely excel at agility, obedience and even search and rescue and you’ll find many clubs around the UK who are always welcoming of new members.

This is a breed that’s going to always want to protect its pack and it won’t always understand what’s a threat and what isn’t which is why training is needed from a young age. When out on a walk, the owner will need plenty of physical strength to make sure they’re always in control but they’ll be rewarded with a faithful companion with a goofy personality.

No matter what breed of dog you open your home to, every dog is different. Whilst you cannot guarantee the long-term personality or temperament of your dog, you can guarantee it starts life as well as possible. If you’re buying a puppy from a breeder, always make sure you see the mother and pup in their natural environment and are welcome to see them as often as you like. Never feel pressured into making any snap decisions and if you have even the slightest of hesitations, walk away and notify the RSPCA.

Even if you’ve got your heart set on a certain breed, it always pays to check animal rescue charities, especially at the moment when they’re seeing more dogs than ever being put up for rehoming. With a little research or advice from the Kennel Club, you’ll usually be able to find breed specific charities who are only too happy to speak to any potential foster or forever home dog owners.

If you ever want any more advice on finding the best dog for your family, we’re always happy to help too. Call one of our friendly customer service team today.